The Rebel Trap by Lance Erlick
What would happen if you were conscripted into some type of military service regardless of your preference or desire to do something else with your live? Boys are considered dangerous and therefore exiled to different parts of the world and if caught within the parameters of where the girls live, they are arrested or worse. Welcome to Harmony where everyone is anything but harmonious and where greed, power, control and revenge seem to be the main agendas.
Annabelle Scott, aged sixteen, has been washed out of the Mech program because she failed to kill her opponent in the arena. Strength, power and fear reign as Annabelle makes a decision that would change her life and the way so many others think about her. Did she purposely defy orders or did she see something in her opponent that warranted making her spare his life? But, she would be shunned, ridiculed and cast aside and thrown back into the police program under the control of a Captain thought to be corrupt and a Lieutenant out to make her life a living misery.
Samantha Hernandez is the commander of the Mechs and she and Annabelle have a rare and special connection. Annabelle has brain implants that allow others to speak to her, cast their thoughts, control her movements and even monitor her every word. Even more, they are able to tell where she is at any moment and unless she manages to jam the connection, she cannot avoid detection. Added in she is made to wear special contact lenses which allow not only her but others to see what she writes, send images to her lenses and orders when a mission needs to be completed.
Janine Scott is her sister but only in name not in blood. Senator Scott adopted Annabelle and Janine is her daughter. Although close and never wanting to be too far away from each other what happens within this novel just might alienate them forever.
The Underground Railroad was responsible for helping boys escape to freedom and Annabelle’s adopted mother, Cora Scott, was a key player. But, things spiral out of control when she is questioned. Annabelle is forced to play two sides of the fence and with not only Samantha in her head, she now has the opponent she let live in the arena, too. Captain Voss and Lieutenant Scarlatti are her new bosses and they will go out of their way to torture Annabelle.
But, her goal is to find out just what these two are up to, what corrupt businesses they are running and why and how they find out before anyone else that boys are escaping from the many places that are supposed to be so secure. Oak Ridge Institute: Just what are they doing to the boys and why is Morgan, the boy who Annabelle saved, asking her to help his brother Seth escape.
Torn between loyalties to her family, her younger sister Janine seems to think that there is something Annabelle is hiding. The two become estranged. Commander Samantha Hernandez seems to be playing many different sides and at times, the reader might think she purposely endangers Annabelle’s life. Withholding information, records, files and not allowing her to interrogate the police or certain officials, Annabelle has to work long and hard and as Sam says, dig deeper in order to find the answers she needs to save not only the boys but bring down Voss and Scarlatti, but anyone else involved.
Throughout the novel, Annabelle is tested not only physically, but mentally too. Placed in difficult situations she is forced to choose between her family and her mission. Close to the border, special coating on shields so that no one will be able to see her, vehicles that can spot her if she is not careful, disgraced but only in name only not in reality, Annabelle has to use every ounce of her intelligence and strength to not only see the mission through and bring down Voss and anyone else that is working with her, but uncover exactly what they are doing.
When the Governor calls for the police to come to her home due to a disturbance somehow Annabelle is called in. She finds a dead boy on the floor in the Governor’s mansion. Just how he came to be there and why brutal force was necessary you just won’t believe. But, the cleanup occurs and we meet more players. The Institute’s Director Margaret Devotte has her own agenda in mind. The goal of the boys is to get to the Outlands but with so many involved and guards on alert and Voss in the know, how could they even think to escape. Each time Voss captures more boys it makes her look ready for a serious promotion that would lead to a better position and more money.
But, there is much more as what is revealed and done to the boys that are captured will make you wonder if they have brought back the asylums of the early 18 and 1900’s. But, there is a Mole that wants to not only help Voss but also bring down Annabelle. The mole will make you wonder just whose side anyone is on and what exactly Morgan expects of Annabelle each time he invades her brain and thoughts. What Morgan and Seth have planned you will have to learn as you experience it yourself. Whether they succeed, you have to decide. Oak Ridge Institute for Quantum Informatics is not what you might think.
With Annabelle trying to win the good graces of Scarlatti and Voss, Samantha hammering away in her mind and her contacts, Annabelle is often confused, torn and placed in situations that a 16 year old should not have to deal with.
The Underground Railroad: Can they be stopped? What happens when things come to a head and Janine wants to know why Annabelle reacts the way she does? Will she give up her sister? What is the real mission and why are the sisters caught in the crossfire? Antonia Rossi, Dara, Lieutenant Scandia and the Director, just who can be trusted? A facility that is a biogenetics lab. What their real purpose is you will have to learn for yourself as author Lance Erlick takes you inside the minds of some very dangerous people that claim what they are doing is for the betterment of everyone but in order to succeed they need to complete their experiments on some innocent boys? Just how will the world fair without men? Just how will children come into this world?
Leaders want an all-female healthy society but how will that be achieved? Loyalties, friendships, family ties, visions, career, moral and ethical issues are brought to light as once again author Lance Erlick provides a story line that will give both teens, young adults and adults much pause for thought and discussion. What would you do if you were Annabelle? What about her relationship with Janine? What is next for the sisters and will they survive the final outcome? The Rebel Trap: Who gets snared?